The Wise Grid Series, Part 2: The Hudson Valley ‘Energy Highway’ Transmission Project — An Idea Whose Time Has Passed?

Tags: The Wise Grid Series, energy transmission, smart grid, policy, energy markets, infrastructure, solar power, wind power, utilities, New York, Timothy Schoechle Phd,

 Transmission Line Dinosaurs

Click here to read Part 1 of The Wise Grid Series: Smart Meters are Not Smart by Camilla Rees.

A 150-mile transmission line project proposed in 2012 costing up to $1.3 billon is a “dinosaur” that is still haunting the Hudson Valley, even though the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has more recently embarked on a new and truly “revolutionary” re-thinking of its entire energy strategy — the “REV” or “Reforming the Energy Vision” proceeding.

The REV, begun in 2014, has put on the table the idea of moving the State rapidly toward renewable distributed generation that is safe, reliable, resilient, sustainable, and more democratic.

Rooftop solar energy, battery storage, and community microgrids can replace the ancient, costly, and vulnerable centralized generation and transmission electricity system that has dominated New York and the entire nation — and advanced little technologically — for over a century.

A technical conference on the proposed transmission project was held by the PSC in Albany in July, and more hearings will be scheduled for the fall. The transmission project should have been pre-empted by the REV, which is far more in alignment with society’s values for sustainable renewable locally-generated energy.

8/25/2015 7:22:48 AM

(posting to get email notifications)

8/25/2015 7:21:27 AM

"With on-site generation and storage, even the local distribution losses are eliminated. Thus, the entire system could enjoy an efficiency improvement of 8–15 percent with localized generation and storage" Yes, you would avoid the distribution losses, but you are ignoring all of the losses inherent to a PV off-grid system. Flooded lead-acid batteries, by far the most economical and most-used today, will lose 5-15% during the charging process. Lithium is 10-20% (the Tesla battery you mentioned earlier), other chemistries can lose as much as 35%. Then there is the inverter loss of 4-8% plus another 1-2% of energy use to run itself. PV panels rarely come close to their nameplate ratings because the sunlight they bath in also heat them up, which dramatically lowers output. A general rule of thumb is PV systems overall have about a 50% efficiency, including all losses from panel to AC plug. This does not mean they should not be used – I’ve wanted my own for years – but like the long-distance transmission systems they have their own losses.

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